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Conte calls on Juve faithful

30 Apr 2014 11:47:03

Conte calls on Juve faithful

Juventus coach Antonio Conte believes the fans can play a huge role in helping his players overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Benfica to reach the final of the Europa League.

A late goal from striker Lima gave Benfica a narrow advantage to take with them to Turin on Thursday, but Conte believes his team are capable of overturning the tie with the help of the Juventus Stadium faithful.

"I want on Thursday for our supporters to create a fiery cauldron in the stadium, just as Benfica's fans did in Lisbon last week," Conte said.

"We are going to play with 12 men on Thursday, I am convinced of it. Benfica had better beware because the fans are going to enter the fray."

Juve head into the contest in buoyant mood after Monday's 3-1 triumph at Sassuolo left them one win away from their third straight Serie A title.

The Bianconeri, who are the only Italian team left in European competition, are eight points clear of Roma at the top of the standings with three games left.

Conte claims his side are only focused on getting past Benfica to reach the European final that will be played in their own stadium.

"We want to progress," Conte said. "Despite the first-leg defeat which we didn't deserve, I think we have proved we have what it takes to be in the final."

Carlos Tevez, who ended his five-year European goal drought against Benfica last week, will lead Juve's attack alongside Fernando Llorente while midfielder Arturo Vidal has recovered from a knee injury and will play.

Rivals Benfica travel to Italy looking to reach the Europa League final for a second straight season, something no team has achieved in the competition.

The recently-crowned Portuguese champions head into the contest also in fine fettle.

Benfica beat arch-rivals Porto on penalties at the weekend to reach the Portuguese League Cup final and remain on course for a treble.

The visitors expect a difficult test in Turin, where Juve have yet to lose this season, but are confident they can succeed.

"We will go to Turin as a united team to try to go through with humility," Lima said. "We have the quality and the ability to achieve that."

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus will be without midfielders Ljubomir Fejsa and Andre Gomes, with the former out injured and the latter suspended.

However, Argentinian attacking midfielder Eduardo Salvio could feature after being included in Benfica's travelling party despite having fractured his arm earlier this month.

English referee Mark Clattenburg will officiate Thursday's match.


PA

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